Brad, in his own words: “I love being gay. I almost feel bad saying that, because I know there are still many people who face serious prejudice, hatred, and danger because of it. But, part of the reason I love being gay is because I feel like I can help pave the way for others, just like others have done for me. While I’m a lot of different things—including a marketer, crossfitter, cyclist, runner, actor, volunteer, husband, son, brother-in-law, and uncle—being gay is at my core and I think it’s important to be out in every aspect of my life for my own happiness and truth, and to support others in theirs.
When I think about the nearly 20 years since I came out, a lot has changed. To me, the most poignant demonstration of that change is actually through my parents’ journey. When I came out to them in 1994, they were scared for me. They were afraid I’d be ostracized from my friends as we got older and they went off and had “normal” families. They didn’t want their friends to know because they didn’t think they could ever understand or look at them or me in the same way. They thought I’d be limited in my choices of where I could live, where I could work, and what I could do with my life.
Fast-forward to our wedding in 2006 and the joy my parents had as Allen and I got married in front of them and about 150 of our friends and family members. All the people who they were worried would desert me were there. Their close friends, who they never thought they could tell, were there. The evening was filled with laugher, some tears, lots of hugs, and lots and lots of dancing.
We now happily live in Boston, in the state that was first in the nation to legalize same sex marriage over nine years ago. While I’ve heard some lament that the gay “scene” here is pretty limited, I think that’s largely due to broader acceptance and more people being open/out in every facet of their life. It results in less of a need for gay people to have as many places that we can call only “ours”. I have gay and straight friends at work, at crossfit, who I cycle with, who I know from theater, in our neighborhood, etc., so I don’t usually feel a need to go somewhere to be with gay people, as I’m with them all the time. “
Allen, in his own words: I knew I was gay at a really young age, but I was convinced that I could live a ‘normal’ life, that the feelings would subside. But they didn’t no matter how hard I tried – and I’m a pretty determined person.
It wasn’t until I completed grad school that I decided to deal with my sexuality. I was 31, had my dream job, a great group of friends and a loving family, but I wasn’t that happy something was missing. So I decided it was time to come out. I was initially concerned with telling people…probably less so because I was gay, but because I felt like I’d been living a lie and had been dishonest to my friends and family. So, to make sure I didn’t back out – I did what all good consultants do – I read every book on coming out, identified ‘best practices’ and made a timeline – a project plan of sorts, with milestone dates to tell my friends and family.
My friends and family were incredibly supportive and happy for me. And, I have to say, if I could choose between being straight and gay, I’d choose gay. I’ve met the love of my life and married my best friend and I’d not have it any other way.”